Bike Racks Buyer's Guide

Whether you're going away on holiday and want to explore the local roads, or you're off to the races every week, a bike rack is a really practical way of getting your bike from A to B (without pedalling).

Having a bike rack on your car gives you more room inside for people and luggage, and means you no longer have to worry about muddy or oily bikes making a mess of your interior.

How do I choose the right type of bike rack for me?

  • Your vehicle:

    First, you'll need to consider what vehicle you're using as not every bike rack fits every car. Rear mounted bike racks are vehicle-specific so if this is what you’re after then use our online registration check first or speak to one of our store colleagues who fit these racks day in, day out.

  • Your bikes:

    Next, think about how many bikes you want to carry and what type of bike they are. Some bike racks can support more bikes than others, while only certain types currently support e-bikes.

  • Your individual needs:

    Finally, think about what you want from your bike rack. If you’re going to need access to the boot of your car while transporting your bikes then certain rear mounted carriers won’t be suitable (our colleagues will be able to advise you on this).

    If you're taking a roof box, then you’ll want to make sure there's still plenty of spare space on your bars to carry a roof mounted cycle carrier too. If you want to carry a larger box or other items on your roof in addition to multiple bikes, then a rear mounted or tow bar mounted bike rack could be the best option.

    Also, it’s important to consider which bike carrier looks the easiest to fit, use and lift your bikes onto – a very personal choice! All of our bike racks are extremely safe and vigorously tested. Therefore, as long as your rack and bikes are secured correctly then you can have peace of mind that your bikes are completely safe.

What are my options?

Rear mounted bike racks

Rear mounted bike racks attach to the back of your car, normally with a set of straps. Some cars might not be compatible with certain types of rear mounted racks, so make sure that you use our online registration checker to find the right one for your vehicle.

Key features

  • Rear mounted bike racks can be the most affordable way to start exploring with your bikes, particularly if you don’t want to invest in roof bars or a tow bar (or they’re already being used for something else).
  • They’re ideal if you need your roof space to carry other items such as a large roof box for family holidays.
  • They can carry up to three bikes and some models are also compatible with e-bikes.
  • They can be easily removed when they’re not in use and some can be folded away for easy storage.
  • Some customers find it easier to lift their bike onto a rear mounted bike rack, but that’s a personal choice.
  • Depending on the model, they may cover your lights and number plate. If so, you’ll also need a lighting board.
Roof mounted bike racks

Roof mounted bike racks need to be mounted on roof bars that are fitted to the top of your car. If this is your preferred option but you don’t currently have one, you can use our vehicle registration system to find a set for your car or ask a store colleague for help.

Key features

  • Roof mounted bike racks give you uninterrupted access to your car boot, while also leaving you free to attach a trailer or caravan.
  • They’re quick and easy to fit (as are the bars, if you don’t already have them).
  • They can typically take up to four bikes or fewer bikes and a narrow roof box.
  • They hold bikes securely, and many are lockable.
  • They don’t obscure your view, and your number plate and lights will still be visible.
Tow bar mounted bike racks

Tow bar mounted bike racks attach to the tow bar of your car, making them a simple solution if you’ve already got a tow bar or are happy to add one.

Key features

  • Tow bar mounted cycle carriers are sturdy and easy to attach/remove from your tow bar.
  • They can carry up to four bikes and are also compatible with e-bikes.
  • They mount directly onto your vehicle’s tow bar, leaving the roof free to carry other loads.
  • They’re the easiest option when it comes to lifting bikes on and off a rack.
  • They don’t restrict your view while you’re driving and some can be folded down when not in use.
  • Most models come with a lighting board attached, although you may need an extra number plate.
  • Some have a tilt mechanism that means you can still access your boot even when there are bikes on your rack.
  • Your bikes can be locked onto the rack, and the rack to your car.

How can Halfords help?

Here at Halfords, our expert colleagues are on-hand to provide advice, answer any questions you may have and support with bike rack installation. We provide a dedicated fitting service from as little as £15, so you can be confident that your new purchase has been fitted correctly and safely. You’ll also be able to see exactly how the rack should be installed, setting you up perfectly for the future.

We offer a large range of bike racks to ensure that we have products that suit your car, personal needs and tastes. We have a strong partnership with top brands such as Thule and Saris, and have also developed our own Halfords and Halfords Advanced ranges using our huge knowledge base and decades of experience.

All our bike racks go through vigorous testing to ensure they’re safe and we offer market-leading guarantees to give you peace of mind. We also offer finance options so that you can get outside and start exploring now.

You can find your local Halfords store by simply entering your postcode online.

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